Showing posts with label handmade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label handmade. Show all posts

Friday, January 31, 2014

Finding Balance.....

Well, here we are in the home stretch of renovations on our new Studio/Gallery.  It has been a LOT of work, a lot of fun, and an interesting journey for sure. As my thoughts for the Studio are coming more and more into focus, the realization that I cannot do everything is certainly sinking in.  I do, after all, only have 2 hands!
I have read over the years in various ceramic journals about "finding balance" and over the past 7 years, I have tried to find a balance between home, life, passion, and pots.  Now "balance" is going to take on a new dimension as it relates to custom work.
My ETSY store has been quite successful, and many customers have been thrilled with my custom pieces. While it has been a fun adventure, working with customers and gaining insight into how others view pottery creation, it has also be quite time consuming and stressful.  All those wedding trays!  When my Thank You trays are given to the parents at the rehearsal night dinner, they have to be there on time and in perfect condition.  All of my brides and grooms to date have been a true joy to work with, but mother nature intervenes, or my LIFE intervenes (think 2 kids, 4 cats, 2 dogs - one with a serious cardiac condition), and hard deadlines have on occasion become stressful all day/all night events in the Studio.
I am proud to say that with almost 350 online orders, I don't think I have missed many dates, if any at all, and certainly, I have not missed a rehearsal dinner - even one that took place in Paris, France!!!
For a one person potter, working out of an unheated space with no running water, I am pretty proud of this accomplishment!!!
As I look to my new Studio and Gift Gallery, I see a different type of work, and a different type of work pattern in my future.  I will still create custom pieces, but now they will only be available through the Studio.   By offering ready to ship pieces via ETSY, I see myself actually having more time to create the pieces I would like to create, and growing in my journey as a potter.
While I realize that I will be making a shift in my work, I think it will actually be more of a return to what my life as a potter had been like before the "Custom Frenzy!"
So, in the end, I believe this decision will offer me a less stressful life, with more time to enjoy life, and enjoy creating pottery...and in the end, for me - that is what it is all a peaceful life and making pots!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2014 and Learning from 2013....

"End of December, the sleepy brown woods seem to nod down their heads for the winter..."
Dan Fogelberg, Lyrics to "Old Tennessee"

Lessons Learned

As I write this in mid December, I am coming to the close of my 6th year in the world of custom, personalized pottery.  What I have learned this year can be summed up in the simple thought of "let the customer lead!"  Some of my best pieces have come from ideas that my customers have shared with me.  I keep and open ear and do not fear doing something differently just because it is something that I would not have done.  Some of my most interesting, and successful pieces have come from my collaborations with customers. That said, it is also important for me as an artist to continue to create all those pieces I have floating around in my head.  I find that if I share my studio time with pieces that I have been commissioned to create with those that I "need" to create for my own artistic venting, that I have a good week.  Keeping time set aside, and kiln room set aside for the pieces I want/need to create has been a happy medium for me this year and a lesson learned for sure.


Looking ahead to 2014, I just downloaded Pantone's Wedding Colors for Spring 2014. There are a lot of great shades to work with for my custom pieces, as well as for my ready to ship items.  In particular, I will certainly be playing with Pantone's Freesia - a beautiful vibrant yellow; Dazzling Blue - a wonderful full bodied shade or royal blue; Radiant Orchid - a fabulous shade of violet; and Celosia Orange - a terrific, subtle shade of soft peachy/orange.


Moving forward, one of the things that is beginning to whisper to me from the furthest reaches of my mind, is the notion of preserving my artistic ideas in the pieces I am working so hard to create.  Imitation is certainly the sincerest form of flattery, but within the artistic world it is a big no-no.  While, I have thankfully not been subjected to any other pottery taking my ideas and reusing them, I will be looking into protecting my ideas moving forward for sure.  Being a fairly "type B" person - sort of a more "whatever" type personality.  I have a natural resistance to pursuing such legal protections, but many of my customers, friends, and family are encouraging me to at least look into it.

So, if you have experience or ideas on how I should go about doing this, I would sincerely appreciate your input and experience.  For now, I am focused on responding to my Christmas orders, and finishing my new Studio which should be opening in January 2014. 

It is an exciting time here at Big Dog Pots Pottery, and we are hoping for even more exciting times ahead.

Best wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy Holiday Season, and a wonderful 2014!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Swimming Into Fall....

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.....

I love living in a place where the seasons change.  It is so inspirational to see the world change its color palate every 3 months.  So surprising to watch the subtle changes of emerging plants from year to year.
Even the wind gives me ideas....

The movement of fish through the water is so interesting.  How certain species move, glide, sprint, or jump!  It is all interesting for me to observe and I find that ideas about pieces I would like to make can be attached to how my senses react to changes in the environment.  This piece is my "fall fish."  I make a lot of beach/nautical themed pieces during the summer months, but this fish seemed to want to belong in a deeper, richer setting.  Playing with the scales, and various inscribed patterns on the fins was an interesting contemplation of both movement, and providing surfaces for reflective relief.

Without, getting to "deep," I think this guy came out quite nicely, and I am thinking about trying another fall themed piece with perhaps splashes of purple.....

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Unique Gift for Wedding, Anniversary, Retirement, or Any Special Occasion

Lace Tray made with handmade Italian 
Wedding Lace

When I first started working with clay I had some "big" ideas about projects I wanted to try.  This tray was one of them.  It is a favorite piece for me to create and I am always surprised with the results.  These trays are made by impressing wedding lace and then individually glazing each and every petal.   They are wonderful as a wedding gift, anniversary present, retirement, or just to have and to enjoy.

These are wonderful for any season.  I have created this in fall these, spring, summer, and even in winter shades using wonderful pastels.

It takes me about 2 hours to glaze a single tray.  Some of my pottery friends think I am "nuts" to make these, but I just keep making them.  I love how the lace appears after the final firing.

 Yes, these are not your average pottery run.  There are normally an average of 4 runs per tray to achieve the final result.

Friday, August 31, 2012

She's a BIG DOG now! Coco and her Spaniel Bowl from Big Dog Pots

What can I say, she is JUST ADORABLE! This is Coco and she lives in Canada. Her mommy decided that she just had to do "something about those ears" and found one of my Spaniel bowls in my ETSY store. The rest, as they say is history. The bowl arrived safe and sound, and apparently, Miss Coco is enjoying her new addition to everyday puppy life. I wish Coco a long, happy, and healthy life!